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Old 13.11.2020, 18:14
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Skiing in Zermatt

Hi All
We are going to Zermatt over December and would like to learn how to ski. We are complete newbies. Can anyone explain the process - as I understand it, we would need to join a ski school, rent equipment and get ski passes? Have I got it right? Are there any schools that includes the rental and ski passes in the cost of the lessons? What clothing should we get - and where can we get it without it costing us an arm and a leg!
Its all quite pricey and daunting for someone who has never even been on a ski slope
All advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 13.11.2020, 18:28
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Good quality ski clothing from the Migros at reasonable prices. A waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers and good gloves. Get some good ski socks too, you will thank me later. December won’t be that cold, but think about thermals. (I never wear them, even in -35 temperatures but it’s a personal thing. You are going to want to dress in layers. But not too many, anything you strip off needs to be carried.

Do a search for ski equipment rental in Zermatt, there are plenty of outlets, prices won’t vary much so find somewhere near to your accommodation. Don’t get the best, get the cheapest. Don’t forget the helmet, you do need one even though they are not mandatory for adults.

There are a couple of ski schools again to a search. Your lift tickets will depend on where your ski school will take you. Do not get the full all singing, all dancing pass. You will NOT be skiing down to Italy this time. If necessary you can always upgrade. Get the advice from your instructors, you can buy them on the day.
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Old 13.11.2020, 18:31
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

No ski school includes ski passes, but you can buy them yourself or get them through your hotel. If you are just starting, the first day you might only need the Wolli pass which includes the beginners area and a couple of blue runs, but best to ask the advice of your ski school.

There are 10+ ski schools in Zermatt so have a look on line at prices etc.

Ski hire shops can loan you most of the equipment including outer clothing, but you'd need to buy/get under layers & sock etc yourself.

I'll send you a DM
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Old 13.11.2020, 19:48
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

We've been skiing for years in Zermatt and have always used the services of Stoked ski school and rentals.

Website:
https://stoked.ch/en/

Highly recommend!
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Old 13.11.2020, 19:50
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

All good advice so far, just a couple of additional points:

Clothing: I'd recommend Decathlon for the best choice of budget clothing. Good quality own-brand stuff.
Make sure you get at least two pairs of ski socks, and once you're there do not be tempted to wear multiple pairs of socks for additional warmth, they will simply restrict circulation, as well as making the boot much more difficult to control.
Underwear. Go for artificial fibres, not cotton. Cotton just absorbs sweat and leaves it next to the skin. You will get hot and sweaty, and you will get cold. The absolute best is Merino wool (very fine, almost like silk). I noticed that Ländi had some polyester/Merino blend underwear last week, at quite reasonable prices. It's also very resistant to picking up body odours, so a single set should last you all week.
Multiple thin layers is always better than fewer thicker ones.

Instruction: There are a number of British-run ski schools in Zermatt, mostly employing British instructors. It's been a while since I was there so I won't recommend any in particular, but BASI-trained instructors are often, well sometimes, maybe, better than Swiss, especially when it comes to teaching older beginners.
I'd suggest talking to them about your fitness level to establish the best pattern of lessons. Full days every day are often just too much for non-sporting adults, so try to get something with some half days or even a day off midweek to recover from the inevitable aches and pains.

Equipment: many people prefer to rent local to them at lower prices than in-resort shops, but be aware that you may find the boots (or maybe even the skis) they give you may not always be the best for learning; if you rent in resort you can go and change them. Your instructor will be able to help establish if they're the right fit and stiffness.

Getting there: Zermatt is traffic free, so you have to take a train from Täsch up to the village, so many people prefer to take the train the whole way. Electric taxis will take you to your accommodation - check if your hotel has their own, as many do and you'll save yourself a few francs. There's a free phone to most hotels at the station, so you can call when you arrive.

Best of luck, and remember to enjoy the experience!
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Old 13.11.2020, 20:14
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Thank you for all the detail! Much appreciated.
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Old 13.11.2020, 20:29
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

You don't necessarily need dedicated ski clothing, just something that will keep you warm and dry, e.g. if you already have fleeces/downs and a waterproof jacket and trousers. Socks of course will need to be long enough. I actually use thick 'heat holders' for comfort.



Take your time picking out boots and try to find somewhere with a good selection. Don't go too long (in length) with the skis.
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Old 13.11.2020, 20:57
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

What do people think skiing will be like this year? Will most of the resorts be open and running almost like pre-covid days (aside from face masks etc)?
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Old 13.11.2020, 21:03
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Ski Season 2020/2021 - predictions
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Old 13.11.2020, 21:05
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

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What do people think skiing will be like this year? Will most of the resorts be open and running almost like pre-covid days (aside from face masks etc)?

Not sure. Could be great, could be a nightmare (Long lines, pushing in lines, non-mask wearing etc)
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Old 13.11.2020, 21:14
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Zermatt is a fabulous area. I was there in September last year walking and some 38 years ago skiing. It’s changed a lot in that time and grown much bigger.

It’s not cheap and it’s not ideal for beginners skiing. I lived in the UK when I skied there and found a series of lessons on the Southampton dry ski slopes invaluable.

If you have the time and they are open, I would suggest a day or two at say Flumserberg or an easy area near Luzern to cut your skiing teeth before Zermatt...
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Old 14.11.2020, 22:27
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Zermatt is NOT a beginners resort and it’s also one of the most expensive. There are no nursery slopes in the villages and it has a reputation for intermediate to advanced skiers. I had friends go to Zermatt last weekend and they only skied one day (they are all advanced skiers) the weekend with a more than 50 percent discount at their hotel cost them 800CHF for a family of four with one day ski pass for all. My advice would be to research an alternative escort if you want to learn to ski where there is not a premium price slapped on everything just because of the Matterhorn. Try Wengen in the Jungfrau Region - perfect for beginners with a great ski school and great rentals where yo can even rent the clothes. I hope it’s not too late for you to change you plans.
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Old 14.11.2020, 23:21
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Re: Skiing in Zermatt

Welcome to skiing! It's a fabulous sport.

And it is also very useful in helping to drain the last few francs from one's bank account

Zermatt is a wonderful resort, I love it, but it is expensive. More about choosing resorts later.

If you've never skiied before I suggest that you avoid any serious investment in clothing and equipment till you've tried it out and you're sure that you like it.

Clothing
If your main objective is to be seen wearing the hottest, sexiest, most glamorous outfits on the slopes or in the apres ski bars then skip my post. You will hate me.

1. I use a goretex shell (or whatever the latest breathable, windproof technology is). Under the shell I dress in normal clothes and in layers. The kind of stuff you might wear when you go hiking or to mooch around outdoors. Coord trousers, T shirt, fleece, vest, etc. Take off a layer if you're too hot and put on a layer if you're too warm. You can use the goretex shell for hiking, cycling, sailing, etc. The shell will not be the hottest fashion item on the slopes but personally I don't care, it's very practical. Get one with lots of pockets and zip vents under the arms.

2. Ski Socks. Get a couple of pairs. Can probably use these for hiking or whatever if you decide skiing is not your thing.

3. Ski Gloves or Mitts. A decent breathable pair will be pricey. The first pair I bought were not breathable and I could wring out buckets of water/sweat each day.

4. Wraparound sunglasses. Might help to avoid investment in the next item.

5. Ski Goggles. Can be a pricey item. You might need them if your skiing in Christmas blizzards. I'd wait and see and get them at the resort if the weather really is that foul.

That's about it. And it will keep your initial outlay low.

Equipment
1. Helmet. Hire one when you hire your skis and boots. And don't be a fool, wear it.

2. Skis, poles and boots. Hire these and tell the assistant that you are a beginner. You don't need the fanciest kit. Take your ski socks and check that the boots fit comfortably. Preferably trudge around the shop for 20-30 minutes till your feet have expanded.

3. Backpack or bumbag. To keep your sunscreen, spare layers, waterbottle.

Ski School
The instructor, and their ability to communicate with you effectively, is key. The problem is that many native instructors do speak English but are unable to communicate effectively. That in my experience can be a real problem. Assuming of course that your home language is English and you are not fluent in the local language.

Lift Pass
You will need a lift pass of sorts. However as a beginner you will probably be confined to a limited number of slopes, and are unlikely to require and expensive regional ski pass. I'd speak to the ski school in advance to obtain their advice, or wait till your first day and listen to whatever you instructor advises.

Fitness
If you're not very fit, get yourself fit. This is probably one of the most important determinants as to whether you enjoy skiing.

Resorts
You've chosen a large and expensive resort for your first skiing experience. Which is exactly what I did when I started skiing. And I regretted it.

Unless you are travelling in a group with mixed experiences and abilities, as a beginner you do not need a large, well connected and therefore expensive resort. A small resort with beginner slopes is all that you need. Apart from being less expensive they often have a lot more charm. Enjoy these small resorts for as long as you can. Once you become a more accomplished skiier smaller resorts will probably not offer the challenge and you will head to the larger ones.

Have fun!
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